As a high percentage of those afflicted with Fibromyalgia are women 40 years and older, it’s also important to know how hormone balancing can help in relieving some of the symptoms you are experiencing. It won’t cure Fibromyalgia, but it certainly may help in relieving some of the symptoms.
And this doesn’t just apply to women. Men with Fibromyalgia may also experience symptoms of hormone imbalance that can be exacerbating their Fibromyalgia symptoms.
It can be hard to tell what the root cause of your symptoms are as they can be from Fibromyalgia and hormones being out of whack, as well as other factors.
What are hormones?
Hormones are essentially chemicals that circulate in the bloodstream. They carry messages or signals to different parts of the body. Hormones are made in the endocrine glands and are passed from the cells of the gland directly into the blood flowing through the gland.
The word itself comes from the Greek “hormao” which means “I excite,” as each hormone excites or stimulates a particular part of the body. The higher the volume of a particular hormone that is in the blood, the greater they effect its target.
Your body has a wide array of hormones. There are 9 different pituitary hormones as well as hormones produced by the hypothalamus. Some of the hormones you will be more concerned with include:
Cortisol, produced by the adrenals, provides resistance to stress, is anti-inflammatory, promotes good metabolism, helps maintain blood sugar levels and regulates fluid balance.
Thyroxine, produced by the Thyroid, controls heart rate, body temperature and metabolism.
Low thyroid and/or cortisol deficiencies can result in inflammation, low energy, reduced metabolism, feeling cold, weight gain and other symptoms.
Then of course there are the sex hormones, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone, which decrease as we age.
Women – Fibromyalgia and Hormones
For women, perimenopause and menopause can cause a whole host of symptoms. Symptoms of menopause include:
- Fatigue or frequently lack energy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of libido, vaginal dryness, or painful sexual intercourse
- Lowered ability to concentrate or remember things
- Anxiety, irritability, sadness and even depression
- Weight gain
- Increased achiness, stiffness, or leg cramps
- Thinning hair
Perimenopause usually starts at around age 40 and lasts for years until one goes into full menopause. Some women begin much earlier and some later. Symptoms include:
- Breast tenderness
- Trouble sleeping
- Worsening PMS
- Irregular periods and shorter or longer periods
- Abnormal bleeding
- Moodiness, anxiety/panic, depression
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased libido
- Urine leakage
- Frequent UTIs
- Loss of bone mass
- Skin changes
- Thinning hair
- Weight gain
- Fuzzy or foggy thinking
Men – Fibromyalgia and Hormones
For men with Fibromyalgia and hormones out of balance, non-optimum symptoms can also be increased. Andropause is when men experience hormonal changes that can cause symptoms such as these:
- Less energy or easily fatigued
- Aches, pains, or leg cramps
- Less muscle mass and lowered physical performance
- Weight gain and it can be harder to take weight off
- Sadness, irritable, or anxiety
- Difficulty focusing or remembering things
- Weaker erections and less sex drive
What should you do?
Find a specialist. There are a lot of hormone clinics popping up and some are a bit too trendy for my liking. You want to find a well trained doctor or endocrinologist who takes a medical approach to testing your hormones and who uses only bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Synthetic hormone replacement has dangers and risks involved and this has given hormone replacement a bad name. Bioidentical hormones are safe and in fact can help prevent bone loss, help in maintaining a healthy weight and can certainly provide some symptom relief.
Do your research and find a good doctor who can provide you with help. If you have Fibromyalgia, don’t just assume that ALL of your symptoms are caused by FMS. Getting your hormones balanced may result in some welcome relief in some of those symptoms.